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7 top tips to reduce landlord-tenant disputes

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, August 30, 2019

Whether your tenant has been in your property for years or they’re leaving after a matter of weeks, the risk of a dispute is always present.

But you can take certain actions to help you avoid potentially nasty disputes at the end of a tenancy.

  • Ensure you have all the right documents at the beginning

Start your new tenant’s stay off on the right foot. Ensure you provide them with all the documentation they need for a successful tenancy. Your tenancy agreement will set out their rights and responsibilities, while a written inventory means you and your tenant both know what they should expect to be present. You must also provide them with a gas safety certificate and an Energy Performance Certificate.

You should also make sure you’ve given them the right contact details for you. They’re legally entitled to know your name and address.

  • Take out the right insurance

Although you are not legally required to have landlords’ insurance in place, it’s certainly an advisable expense. This is particularly true if you’re providing a furnished property, where the furniture belongs to you.

If anything were to happen, insurance provides a lot more cover than you’d have without it. If damage were to occur, with the right insurance, you don’t have to let it sour your relationship with your tenant.

  • Encourage tenants to attend the check-out inspection

Your tenant is not legally required to attend the check-out inspection, but it is beneficial. They have the opportunity to challenge any claims you or your letting agent make about the state of the property.

Be fair about the process. Think about how you’d feel if you were the tenant. Remember that fair wear and tear is bound to happen and you can’t penalise them for that.

  • Don’t make claims after the check-out inspection

If your tenant attended the check-out inspection, they’ll know exactly what you have an issue with. Any problems should have been brought up during this inspection. That’s why you should not make any new claims about damage after the inspection.

Claims made after the check-out process will require strong evidence to stand any chance of success, so ensure you carry out a thorough inspection. You don’t want to miss anything.

  • Provide evidence

The more evidence you have, the better your chance of avoiding a serious dispute. Making a claim about damage can often be one person’s word against another, but if you have evidence, your case will be stronger.

Provide a comprehensive inventory before the tenant moves in – complete with pictures of the state it’s in. Ask them to sign it when they’re happy with its accuracy. You should also ask your tenant to confirm in writing that they’re happy with the check-out inspection.

  • Communicate

During your tenancy, you should keep in touch with your tenant. This will help you keep a civil relationship, improving the chances of a straightforward end to their tenancy.

Find out how they prefer to be contacted and stick to that channel. Check on their welfare and if they need anything repaired. Some tenants may be too cautious to approach you with requests, so proactively asking may be helpful. This can help keep them onside and reduce the chances of a dispute at the end of the tenancy.

  • Understand the law

You should make sure you know all the relevant aspects of the law surrounding tenancy. When you know the law, you’ll be better able to challenge things that aren’t quite right. The legalities around renting have changed in the last few years so keeping up to date with the law is important.

Once you know your rights and what you should do to cover yourself in all eventualities, you’ll have the knowledge to prepare yourself and your tenants for a straightforward and tension-free tenancy. But if you are going through a landlord-tenant dispute, First4Lawyers can help.

Just give us a free call, request a call back or make an enquiry here.